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Lisbon will soon be home to the first Canada VAC in Portugal.

On February 19, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced that the new Canada Visa Application Centre (VAC) will be opening on February 26, 2024 in Lisbon, Portugal.

VACs are managed by privately owned companies that have contracts with the Canadian govenment. They accept documents required in the visa application process, securely transmit them to IRCC offices and provide biometric collection services.

Keep in mind, VACs do not make decisions on files and they are not authorized to provide applicants with advice about their visas or permits.


The benefit of having a VAC in your area is that VAC service agents are available by phone, email or in person to answer questions in local languages and to help make sure that your application is complete.

With the opening of the Lisbon VAC, applicants in Portugal will no longer need to travel outside of the country, which helps reduce costs as well as distance and travel time and improve client service.

Non-Portuguese citizens living in Portugal who need a visa to come to Canada can also access services at the Lisbon VAC.

The new VAC is currently taking appointments and has been since February 12, 2024.

With this new centre, IRCC’s VAC network will consist of 163 locations in 110 countries around the world. Canada started opening VACs in the mid 2000s. The first location was in India, followed by China.

Why is Canada opening a new VAC in Portugal?

The ties between Canada and Portugal have grown stronger with time. Canada is home to a vibrant community of Portugese immigrants and Canadians of Portugese origins.

The media release by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) cites these reasons as to why Canada is making it easier for Portuguese citizens to travel to Canada. The two countries have strong bilateral relations—celebrating 70 years of formal diplomatic relations in 2022. Roughly 448,000 people of Portuguese origin live in Canada, according to the latest Census.

The new visa application centre in Lisbon will offer Portugese residents greater flexibility and accessibility to visit, study or work in Canada. It will also open the door to new opportunities for social, economic and cultural exchange—benefitting both countries.

“The opening of the first-ever Canada visa application centre in Portugal is another example of our commitment to improving visa processing efficiency and client service,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller said in a media release. “Portuguese citizens already enjoy visa-exempt travel to Canada for up to six months, and the new VAC will make it even easier for them to apply to visit longer, study or work in Canada, all while contributing to our economy and deepening the ties between our countries.”

Move to Canada from Portugal

If you are interested in Canadian permanent residency, you may be eligible for certain immigration programs even if you have never set foot in Canada before.

Many people come to Canada through economic immigration programs like the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or through programs managed by the Express Entry system.

Although, much data indicates that permanent residents with Canadian experience tend to fare better in the labour market in their first year after obtaining permanent residency status.

In addition to studying in Canada, there are many options for Portugese citizens to launch their Canadian careers. Here are just two options:

Digital Nomad

Did you know that Canada explicity allows for digital nomads to work remotely in Canada for the duration of their visitor visa’s validity?

That’s right. And Portugese citizens can stay in Canada for up to six months with just an electronic travel authorization (eTA). The process is relatively quick and simple and can be done online.

However, if you plan to stay for longer than six months or you want to work in Canada, you will have to apply for a visa and a study or work permit.

International Experience Canada (IEC)

Portugal is one of over 30 countries that have a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada.

With International Experience Canada (IEC) Portugese youth ages 18 to 35 can take a working holiday in Canada for up to two years.

Every week, Moving2Canada reports on the happenings in the IEC program. As of February 16, there are still 1,768 spots available in all IEC programs for Portugese citizens, and the odds of being invited to apply are “Excellent.” For more weekly updates, check out our IEC News Hub.

It’s still early in the year, the IEC season started and January and will likely be open until the fall, then a new season will start in the new year. So if you want to apply for IEC 2024 it’s not too late!

Get access to free resources to help you move to Canada through IEC when you create a free Moving2Canada account and sign up for our newsletter.

If you’re interested in moving to Canada but not sure which program you may be eligible for, check your eligibility for more than 20 Canadian immigration programs by taking Moving2Canada’s free Canada Immigration Quiz.

Citation "Canada opens new Visa Application Centre in Portugal." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation


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